How Thirsty are You?
How Thirsty are You?
Have you ever been really thirsty? Tongue stuck to the roof of your mouth, thirsty? One summer my fellow teachers and I backpacked into the Badlands of South Dakota to hunt for fossils. Paul, our guide and fellow teacher had served six years in the Navy so we trusted his leadership. His wife, who hated camping, dropped six of us off on a grassy mesa, where she would retrieve us in two days. From the mesa we would make our way down a narrow, rocky path that hugged the canyon wall, to the desolate wasteland below.
Had wisdom prevailed, we would have turned back after the first thirty yards but this was before cell phones and our driver was already headed for an air-conditioned motel.
Halfway down the treacherous descent Paul’s backpack hit a rock protruding from the canyon wall with a resounding clunk, followed by a tinkle of glass. We reached the bottom to discover that he had packed a cast-iron skillet and a glass jar full of cracked eggs! Yes, really! He had also determined that a gallon water jug and a full canteen each, would be sufficient for the entire weekend, but had not taken into consideration one-hundred degree temperatures in a treeless vista. With drinking and cooking freeze-dried food,(forget about bathing) our water supply was depleted the first day.. Until you have looked longingly at an antelope-trampled mud hole and considered squeezing water from the muck, you have not been thirsty.
I am reminded of our Badlands adventure whenever I read Psalms 42:1-2, “As the deer pants for the water brook so pants my soul for you, O God.” It was an extreme a physical thirst we experienced then. Years later I came to understand the deeper thirst of which the Bible speaks. Sometimes it takes wrong choices and desperate situations for us to be so spiritually parched that we cry out for the Living Water with the passion of the Psalmist.. “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God!.”
Jesus promises us blessings when we hunger and thirst after righteousness. His promises are true. He entreated the people of His time to come and drink, assuring them that if they believed in Him “out of their heart will flow rivers of living water. His message is the same for us. The woman at the well caught the vision and ran to tell her neighbors. She may not have even understood the significance of Jesus’ promise at the time but she thirsted for the truth and knew Jesus was the Source..
Sunday afternoon our pitiful group trudged back up the trail to the campground, dreading the agonizing wait until our ride came to rescue us. But God has a keen sense of humor and a way of teaching humility when the lesson is called for.
On the mesa we found twenty-five Boy-Scouts with their leaders, setting up camp.. We were given life-sustaining water and first-aid— followed by a lecture from a twelve-year-old on the merits of being prepared.
Keep us hungry and thirsty for You, O God, and keep us prepared to show others the way to Your blessings!